Damien Williams vs. Khalil Herbert: Which Bears RB Takes Over with David Montgomery Out?

Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery will be out several weeks with a knee injury suffered in Week 4 vs. the Detroit Lions.
Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery will be out several weeks with a knee injury suffered in Week 4 vs. the Detroit Lions. / Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

One of the few bright spots in the Chicago Bears' gloomy season outlook has just gone dark for the next several weeks.

ESPN NFL insider Dan Graziano reports that Bears running back David Montgomery will miss the next 4-5 weeks with a knee sprain that he suffered in their Week 4 24-14 victory over the Detroit Lions.

Losing Montgomery could be a potential disaster for Chicago. Montgomery ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing yards to start the year, despite playing behind a bottom-five ranked offensive line and the Bears' offense ranks dead last in the NFL in points scored and total yards per game.

Meanwhile, Vegas has little to no faith in Chicago's chances this season despite their 2-2 start. WynnBET Sportsbook has the Bears' win total still set at 6.5, and their division odds in the NFC North at +1200.

Tarik Cohen also remains out as he recovers from an ACL injury. With Montgomery officially on the shelf, let's evaluate which running back will take over the bulk of the snaps.

Who Will Be the Bears Featured RB: Damien Williams or Khalil Herbert?

Williams is the most logical choice, given his connection to Matt Nagy during their time in Kansas City as well as his familiarity with his offense. When given the opportunity to be the lead back during the Chiefs' Super Bowl run in 2020, Williams maximized his chances.

Last week vs. the Lions, Williams got 30% of the snaps for the game, compared to just 4.2% for Herbert.

Williams was also much more efficient in his opportunities, running 8 times for 55 yards and a touchdown, as well as catching two passes for 15 yards.

The only reason why Herbert would also be considered in a timeshare is Williams' durability concerns. He's never started more than six games in an NFL season since entering the league in 2014. Williams opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, but even with fresh legs this year, it wouldn't surprise to see Herbert still get about 30 to possibly even 40% of the snaps.

The former Virginia Tech star led the ACC in all-purpose yards in 2020 and got scooped up by Chicago in the sixth Round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Chicago also only carried three running backs on their active roster, leading fans to believe the amount of confidence they have in the rookie.

Ultimately, Williams will get the first crack to deliver, but I expect Herbert to end up having more volume purely as a runner, with Williams likely coming on for more passing and pass block situations.

Chicago travels to Las Vegas to take on the 3-1 Raiders this week.

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